DENVER — There have been more than a dozen pet treat recalls in just the past three months after hundreds of dogs died and thousands of other pets became sick.
So many pet owners have complained to the Food and Drug administration, retailers have voluntarily recalled some of their most popular brands.
But our hidden camera investigation reveals the tainted treats were still on grocery store shelves up to one week after they were recalled.
We visited 10 Colorado stores and found them still for sale at Albertson’s, Safeway and Kmart.
We were also able to order the recalled brands online.
The results of our investigation is frustrating for pet owners, like Bonnie Rohn of Fort Morgan.
Her 9-year-old Boston Terrier-Chihuahua mix, “Teri,” had to be put down after eating “Waggin Train” chicken jerky. “I cried for weeks, I still cry. As you can tell it still hurts,” Rohn told us.
It wasn’t until after “Teri’s” death that Rohn realized she is just one of hundreds of pet owners who have suffered the same loss. “We should have been told something. There should have been a warning out earlier,” Rohn said.
For the past six years the FDA has been investigating and trying to find a link between the treats and the illnesses.
The FDA has received 3,243 reports of dogs getting sick form the products.
501 of those pets died after eating them.
Sandi Stephen is certain the “Milo’s Kitchen” brand nearly killed her dog, “Sophie.”
“She went downhill within a day,” Stephen spent more than $2,600 in vet bills to save her life.
Englewood veterinarian Missy Tasky compares the chicken treats to poisons such as anti-freeze. “Whatever is in these products that is a toxin affects the kidneys,” Tasky said. “I think we need to stop and take a good look at what we are bringing into this country.”
Veterinarians across the country are advising pet owners to read the labels and only buy pet treats made in the USA.
We wanted to know why Albertson’s, Kmart and Safeway failed to remove the recalled treats from their stores.
Albertson’s sent us this statement:
“Limited amounts of the product that were placed in the wrong locations at our…store were accidentally left on the shelf following the recall notice. It was an isolated incident and not indicative of how recalled product is managed in our stores”
Kmart had this to say,“…It appears one of our stores may have missed pulling some product, and we are working with the store to re-train on handling food recalls.”
And Safeway said, “Safeway takes all withdrawals and recalls seriously and we are re-verifying that the products have been removed from the store shelves. Customers can return the product for a full refund.”
But that’s not good enough for Bonnie Rohn who says, “You never get over the death of a pet.”
She said retailers and grocery stores need to make sure no other dog is poisoned by a pet treat like “Teri” was.
It’s unclear what is in the treats that is causing the illnesses.
A lab in New York found unapproved antibiotics in the products but experts do not believe that alone would be enough to kill an animal.